My dad's recipe for Pecan Pie is perfection. I remember last year, I couldn't find CORN SYRUP at my local health food grocery store and tried to make it with rice syrup and honey and all sorts of other boring, healthy things. This year, a little bit older & wiser, I am stickin' to the books. Yesterday, we celebrated Thanksgiving Part I (The Overture) at Mark's parents house, Omi and Opi, in the Inner Richmond. A really fun day and we were thankful that they welcomed us to their turkey & stuffing & really good brussels sprout/shallot dish that I ate one too many servings of. Here's me, Oscar, and Georgia being bestest friends in Omi and Opi's backyard.
Today, it's Thanksgiving Part II (The Finale) at Glashaus with Cole's parents, Nana, Aunt Pam, UJ, Madie/Alex, Mark/Vale/Oscar/Lucy, etc. "11 adults, 2 kids, 3 dogs, 4 generations" as Vicki put it in her pot-luck spreadsheet.
My contribution to both dinners? You guessed it... Pecan Pie!
1 ¾ cups of flour
6 tablespoons of butter, ice cold (I stick it in the freezer for a while)
¼ cup of shortening (I used Crisco and keep it in freezer also)
2 teaspoons of sugar
¾ teaspoons of salt
7-8 tablespoons of cold water with iced cubes in it
1 cup of Karo Syrup (dark corn syrup, or light, or 1/2 and 1/2)
1 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of melted butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of Bourbon (optional)
2 cups of whole pecans
In a large bowl mix flour, salt, sugar and mix well with whisk.
Add small slices of iced cold butter into flour mixture and cut in with pastry cutter until the butter is in pea sized pieces and the mixture looks crumby. Add in small slices of the frozen shortening and blend in again with pastry cutter. Add iced water 1 tablespoon into a section of the flower mixture and toss that section lightly with a fork until moistened, move to next dry section and do the same until you have used your 8 tablespoons of water.
Lightly gather the mixture and shape into a round disk (it will still be a bit dry and crumbly but don’t handle it too much the cold butter and Crisco make for a very flaky crust, also too much water makes it like glue, but I usually find I need to use all 8 tablespoons)
Wrap ball into Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, but two is better.
Lightly flour two sheets of waxed paper, take chilled dough out of fridge, unwrap Saran, and put on one piece of waxed paper. Dust disc lightly with flour and cover with another sheet of waxed paper.
Roll the dough with a rolling pin over the waxed paper from the center out and keep turning ¼ turn until it is rolled out to a to a circle a few inches bigger than the top of your pie plate. You may have to turn and roll it a few times to make it large enough. Leave between the waxed paper and put back in the fridge for about 10 minutes.
Remove from fridge gently and slowly peel off top piece of waxed paper. Place pie plate upside down onto dough and holding both together flip over so that pie plate is upright and dough is on top of it. Gently peel off top of waxed paper and ease dough into plate pressing in gently into place. (If dough cracks or rips patch together gently with fingers.
Trim extra with scissors leaving about ½ inch bigger than pie plate and turn extra 1/2 under and shape edge into points or scallops with tips your finger. Brush edge with egg white
NOTE: Using the waxed paper is a huge help and the key is to keep everything very cold or it turns to mush. Also if it is handled too much it becomes tough and is not flaky.
Stir together first six ingredients thoroughly with a spoon (that includes the Bourbon)
Sir in the pecans and pour into pie crust.
Bake at 350 degrees in the center of middle rack on a cookie sheet for 55-60 minutes or until center is puffed and stays puffed when you lightly tap it with your finger.
Cover the pie shell rim with tin foil for the first 15 minutes or so, so it doesn't brown too much.
Let pie cool on a rack for at least 2 hours to set, and actually it tastes better if you make it a day or two ahead.
Best served with really good vanilla bean ice cream.